As we all know our metabolic rate is important for your weight loss efforts, similarly it can also be the reason for weight gain, as it can influence the amount of energy (calories) you require. If you take in more energy than needed any excess will be stored as fat.
While it is easy to blame a ‘slow metabolism’ as a reason why you are unable to reach your weight loss goals maybe you should look more closely at what you are currently eating and the amounts of exercise you are performing.
How many calories are you burning daily?
To work out how many calories you should be eating daily you should work out your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate, this account for the calories burnt by your body just to maintain regular functions while at rest.
Normally this will account of between 50 and 80% of your calorie intake.
Other influences on your calorie intake include your current activity levels and the ‘thermic effect’ of the foods you eat (the amount of calories your body uses to break down and digest the food).
What other factors affect your metabolic rate?
Here are some other factors that can affect your metabolic rate, as some are within your control you can do something about it to increase your chances of successfully losing weight:
#1 – Your muscle mass
Muscle mass basically means the amount of muscle tissue on your body.
As your muscles require more energy to function than fat it makes sense to try and increase your muscle mass as this will allow you to burn off more energy or calories even when at rest.
While most exercise will increase muscle mass, the best form is resistance or weight training.
#2 – Your age
Although this is out of your control, research has shown that as we age our metabolic rate will drop, often due to hormone changes.
#3 – Your body size
Those of us with bigger bodies will tend to have a higher BMR, this is because our internal organs are often larger so take more energy to maintain.
Also as your skin surface area will also be larger it will take more energy to keep your body at a constant temperature.
#4 – Your gender
It is an unfortunate fact that men on average have faster metabolisms than women, this is often the reason why men are able to lose weight much faster than women.
#5 – Your genetics
Some people are simply born with good genetics that mean they are able to burn off calories much faster than others.
Similarly there are those of us with slow metabolic rates, who are more prone to weight gain.
#6 – The amount of physical activity you do
Exercise is incredibly important for weight loss, not only for burning the calories while exercising but can also result in an increased metabolism for hours after the activity.
Another benefit is that exercise can help build muscle mass, which we have already talked about.
#7 – Any hormonal factors
There are certain health conditions such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism that can influence your metabolic rate.
#8 – Environmental factors
It may be hard to believe but the weather can also affect your metabolism, if it is cold or hot your body will have to work in order to maintain a normal temperature, meaning your metabolism will rise and fall accordingly.
#9 – Drugs
There are certain drugs that can affect your metabolic rate both positively and negatively.
For instance caffeine and nicotine can raise your metabolic rate, while others such as antidepressants can lower it.
#10 – Your diet
Although what you eat is important for weight loss, certain elements can also affect your metabolic rate. For example, if you are lacking iodine in your diet this can affect your thyroid function resulting in a slower than normal metabolic rate.